There were three developments in the IRS-targets-the-Tea Party scandal in the past two days, all individually meriting coverage on their own right but, taken together as a package are most definitely newsworthy. Despite this, neither ABC's World News nor the CBS Evening News nor the NBC Nightly News spared even a second of coverage to them on their July 10 broadcasts.
By contrast, time was made to cover stories like country artist Garth Brooks's return to the industry (ABC), the 100th anniversary of Babe Ruth's start in the big leagues (CBS), and a baby boom in Washington, D.C., nine months after the government shutdown (NBC). Both NBC and ABC briefly mentioned the Emmy Awards nominations and all three broadcasts had time to note the passing of modeling agency executive Eileen Ford.
One must perversely admire the gall of the New York Times editorial page. Sunday's lead editorial, "The Real IRS Scandal," says that the "real scandal" at the politicized agency isn't its targeting of citizens with anti-Obama views before the last election, isn't the suspiciously lost emails by an agent who pled the fifth before Congress, but a lack of sufficient funds because of the GOP.
Republican-fostered cuts to the agency's budget have evidently meant less audits of "the rich," which in turn spells "bad news for building roads, keeping the air clean, protecting the nation’s security, and countless other vital government tasks." A commenter accurately accused the Times of changing the subject.
Media Research Center's Rich Noyes appeared on the Monday, June 30 edition of Fox Business Network's Varney & Co. to discuss the MRC's latest findings about the network news avoiding developments in the IRS scandal. "ABC, CBS, and NBC their evening newscasts did not touch the Lerner email story for seven days," Noted informed guest host Charles Payne. What's more, "it took a congressional hearing where Paul Ryan called the commissioner of the IRS to get them to notice, and then they dropped it the very next morning."
"This is still the media that reach the broadest number of people" with "25 million people a night watch[ing] one of the Big Three newscasts," Noyes noted, arguing that as such "they still have a huge agenda-setting role and when they decide to leave something off the agenda... the public is harmed." [watch video of the full segment follow page break]
[See update below.] The New York Times’ motto is “all the news that’s fit to print” but in their eyes it seems as though the IRS scandal isn’t worth printing all that much.
Research conducted by the Media Research Center found that in the past 6 months (183 days) the New York Times has published only 13 news items on the IRS’ targeting of Tea Party groups. The study focused on the dates of December 25, 2013 until June 26, 2014 and did not include editorial or opinion pieces published in the Times.
In the June 24 edition of The Daily Show With Jon Stewart, the Comedy Central host spent the first 10 minutes of his show mocking the blatant incompetence of the IRS. Even though Jon Stewart did say Republicans were “d***s” to the IRS commissioner during the hearing, he spent most of the segment making fun of the IRS’s “unacceptable” behavior which “borders on criminal idiocy.”
While Stewart accepted that “computers do crash,” he yelled that it should takes less time than the “gestat(ion) period of a manatee” to find that information out. But according to the liberal comedian, what takes the scandal beyond the realm of “annoying” was that the IRS, “The government agency whose entire business model release on forcing Americans to live as borderline hoarders” only keeps backup tapes for six months. [See video below. Click here for MP3 audio]
Chuck Todd, NBC’s Political Director, Chief White House Correspondent, and host of The Daily Rundown on MSNBC did his best to deflect from the IRS scandal by wondering if “there are any actual real victims’ of the IRS targeting of conservative groups.”
Appearing on MSNBC's The Daily Rundown on Wednesday morning, Todd insisted that “the question at hand is whether explicitly political organizations should be filing as tax exempt social welfare groups under the tax code” and suggested that such groups weren’t deserving of such tax exempt status at all. [See video below.]
After ten days of ignoring the June13 revelation that the IRS mysteriously lost two years worth of Lois Lerner's emails related to the scandal plaguing the agency, Tuesday's network morning shows finally took notice of the development only to tout Democrats dismissing the latest congressional hearing on the government abuse as a "farce." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
NBC's Today and CBS This Morning both provided full reports on the "contentious" hearing in which "Republicans unleashed their full fury" on IRS Commissioner John Koskinen. On Today, correspondent Peter Alexander proclaimed: "The hearings showcased another round of bitter partisanship, with little resolution in sight." A soundbite followed of Massachusetts Democratic Congressman John Tierney declaring: "I don't think I've seen a display of this kind of disrespect in all the time I've been here in Congress."
The Big Three networks' Friday evening newscasts finally noticed the latest development in the IRS scandal (they omitted it on Thursday), after Rep. Paul Ryan grilled Commissioner John Koskinen earlier in the day. ABC's David Muir spotlighted "the outrage...involving the IRS claiming to have lost thousands of crucial documents – lawmakers asking, how can the tax man be let off the hook for losing documents, while ordinary taxpayers would never get away with that?"
NBC's Brian Williams noted how Koskinen claimed that the IRS "lost evidence in the investigation into how they handled conservative political groups...and given how long the IRS holds on to things like our tax returns, some members of Congress just aren't buying it." CBS's Nancy Cordes zeroed in on congressional Democrats' attack on their Republican colleagues over the scandal – something that ABC and NBC didn't do: [MP3 audio available here; video below the jump]
Six more IRS employees have curiously had their emails go missing, two Republican congressmen investigating the tax-collecting agency for its improper targeting of conservative non-profits informed the press today. This follows on the heel's of the revelation Friday afternoon regarding Lois Lerner's emails to the White House, the Treasury Department, and other persons outside the IRS.
But none of the Big Three network evening newscasts even mentioned the development tonight, even as they had time for stories on the 20th anniversary of the OJ Simpson freeway chase (NBC), a rare postage stamp up for auction (CBS), and how dogs have and enforce a sort of social etiquette when they play with each other (ABC). [MP3 audio here; video montage follows page break]
Despite the damning new revelations in the IRS scandal, ABC and NBC have failed to cover the story as of Monday June 16, and only CBS This Morning reported on the emails on Monday but their evening news program ignoring the IRS alongside ABC's World News with Diane Sawyer and NBC Nightly News.
Editor's Note: The following is a statement released by Media Research Center president Brent Bozell earlier this afternoon regarding the latest revelations in the IRS Tea Party targeting scandal, a development which have been utterly ignored by the Big Three broadcast networks. The full press release is published below the page break and available at MRC.org.
What will it take for ABC, CBS, and NBC to cover the IRS targeting scandal, which is no doubt bigger than Watergate? Time after time after time, we’ve seen major developments in this story go completely unreported, or, at best, given a few token seconds. The liberal media are downright allergic to the truth about the IRS scandal.
This administration has lied countless times to the media’s face, and they just continue to sit there and take it. They’re so lovesick with everything Obama that they can’t bring themselves to do their jobs and report the news. It’d be pitiful if it weren’t so dangerous for the country.
Tuesday's World News on ABC stood out as the only Big Three network evening newscast to cover a new "watchdog report" that found that the IRS "handed out more than $1 million in bonuses to employees who were delinquent on their federal taxes." Jeff Zeleny also pointed out how "more than 1,000 IRS workers, who didn't pay their taxes, received not only cash bonuses, but extra time off." [MP3 audio available here; video below the jump]
By contrast, NBC Nightly News and CBS Evening News on Tuesday both devoted air time to the 50th anniversary of the 1964 World's Fair in New York City. NBC's Brian Williams also gave a 28-second news brief on Prince William and Princess Kate's visit to Ayers Rock in Australia, where they posed at the same spot as the prince's parents during the 1980s: